Two-Bit Musings.

Shh.

Just Another Day in Paradise, Yo.

. . .

Hi. How are you, Dear Reader? How do you feel today: body, mind, and soul?

Pause. Think. Answer honestly.

Me? I’m doing just fine, thanks.

I’m currently sitting on our RV love seat, clicking past the miles somewhere between Ohio and Indiana. Sweet Baby Snap is sleeping; Toddler Snap is hopefully about to do the same up in his car seat.

I’m sipping iced coffee, laughingly shrugging at the insane diesel prices, and singing songs from Father John Misty’s latest album in my head.

I feel good.

. . .

I just turned 35.

Seems kinda weird, like that’s much too old and much too young, all at the same time. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived a thousand lives; I also feel like I’ve just been born.

And when I close my eyes and quiet my mind, I think about this life. I think about how much I value the simple idea of respect.

I want to show respect in everything I do.

Toward other human beings, animals, and Mother Earth herself.

I want to respect other people’s time. I want to respect their turn to speak.

I want to respect the public goods we all need, like clean water and food. Health. Education. The arts and humanities.

I want it to be known that I respect you because not everything is about me.

. . .

(shrugs)

That’s it for now.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist currently residing on Planet Earth.

Two-Bit Musings.

Hidden Away.

I’m still here, yo! And doin’ just fine.

. . .

Hello, Dear Reader. And greetings from my shockingly somewhat-cleared-off dining room table, where a fresh iced coffee patiently sits within reach. I’m in fruit-punch pink sweatpants. My lips are annoyingly chapped.

(takes a deep breath)

Blogging is a funny thing: Really, it’s a strangely intimate relationship. I feel the pull to write–to check in–every single day. For real. And it truly bothers me when I don’t. Even when I was in the hospital–mindlessly eating egg salad sandwiches and trying not to freak out about another impending premature birth–SnapDragon was there, too. I viewed myself in all of my facets, the writer included.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Snap’s still here. Even though I’m in mama-mode full force these days, the artist within still breathes. (And she’s been downing delicious cold brew coffee like it’s her job.)

So, let me back up, and clear the writer-ly cobwebs from my sleep-deprived brain. Here we go:

. . .

But First: A Word on 2021

I did sort of a shit job of posting this past year. I dropped the ball in more than one way, but I must say that not completing my Book-of-the-Month posts for the year bothers me, and more than it probably should. And so, I feel the need to declare that I did continue to read.

Here are a few books of note:

To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck

As far as Steinbeck goes, this one was just okay. I didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t be in a rush to read it again.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

This was an intriguing read. Definitely pick it up if you get the chance. I also felt a strong connection with the hermit, when he said he wasn’t going to be ‘intellectually bullied’ into reading Ulysses. Umm, yes.

The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang

I definitely enjoyed this novel. There were parts of it that were true page-turners! I’d be quite proud if my debut novel is as well done as this one.

The Best American Short Stories: 2020 edited by Heidi Pitlor and Curtis Sittenfeld

Reading the newest edition in this series has been a tradition since 2015, The Year of Our Sweet Wedding. And I must say, this one has been the best so far. It’s filled with really smart, beautiful stories.

. . .

Here are a few more thoughts on 2021. In fact, here’s what I started writing on New Year’s Day, right before I went into the hospital:

2021. (lets out an exasperated breath) Amiright?

Well, it’s over.

And while there were certainly some low moments–as there are in every year we live on this planet–I’m choosing to recap the year with some of my favorite happenings:

Home-cooked meals; children’s books on repeat; the flickering of jarred candles; RV adventures; drive-throughs*; well-designed playgrounds; eating vine-ripened tomatoes straight from our container garden; cat snuggles; intelligent cinema; exploring every winding road of our neighborhood; discovering all-but-vacant malls are perfect for toddler-running during a pandemic; moments of solitude; reuniting with vaccinated friends and family; celebrating the holidays in simplicity; modern medicine; yogurt and granola; warm hands and feet.

*Yeah, no. I’m taking a stand against the asinine Drive-Thru spelling. Somebody has to.

. . .

Ahh. Oddly enough, I feel better after airing those accumulated thoughts.

. . .

So Dear Reader, I want to take you warmly by the hand. I want to say Hello, and Happy New Year. I want to remind you that even though we’ve probably never met, you are my friend. You are human, and I am human. And we are in this thing together.

Let’s do this.

. . .

SnapDragon is a blogger who enjoys the hoppiest of IPAs.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her sometimes messy ramblings about who-knows-what.

Two-Bit Musings.

Little Breaths.

October Gold, 2021.
Pennsylvania, USA.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved, yo.

Let us remember that we all require space.

Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot.

Those quiet times hold such delicious potential; the roots do strengthen, as the vine prepares to blossom.

Shh. Close your eyes. Listen.

And allow yourself just to be.

Wonderful things are on the horizon, are they not?

. . .

SnapDragon is a teacher, painter, writer, and mom.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

Two-Bit Musings.

A Welcome Breeze.

This & That from Yours Truly.

. . .

Hi! And greetings from my parked car.

I’ve got the AC chilling on low, Toddler Snap snoozing in his car seat, and a pumpkin iced latte within reach. Each sip reminds me of pleasant fall mornings in my classroom. Singing along with Regina Spektor as I readied myself for a day of chaotic happiness.

I smile.

. . .

1. All I can hear is the steady hum of my FJ Cruiser. I watch my fellow suburbanites scurry across the parking lot, to who knows where. A storm is brewing, and the gently trembling leaves on the pre-planned shrubbery soothes me somehow.

2. My eyebrows need to be plucked. It’s funny how I used to do this every day in college. Now the need only strikes about once a month. Funny how our bodies change.

3. I’ve always been a thinker. I suppose it’s hard to be a writer and artist and not think about things until your stomach literally hurts. And I’ve been privileged with the gift of time. Even at my busiest, I’m never worried about where my next meal will come from or if I’m physically safe to leave my house. This allows my mind to reflect, to grow. It allows me to wonder what kind of wife I am. What kind of friend, daughter, and sister. I think about these things, then I think some more. Who am I?

4. I’m pregnant. Yep. The Littlest Snap is scheduled to be here in late February. Here’s to an uneventful, full-term delivery. #ptsd

5. I saw a picture of a pot-bellied pig today that made me ridiculously happy. It was so big and chubby that it almost looked like a cartoon. I wanted to give it a hug, and name it something like Stanley or Walter or George.

Wishing you well, Dear Reader. Take time for joy today.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and reader of delicious paperbacks.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for who knows what.

Two-Bit Musings.

On Friends.

Feeling Fine, 2021.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

This past month or so has been filled with visits from those who were starting to feel like long-lost friends. (Pandemically speaking, that is.)

It truly has been joyous to see so many (vaccinated!) loved ones after at least eight(ish) months of diligent social isolation on our part.

And I’m not gonna lie: it was a little hard at first. A little. . . weird.

How do I talk to people other than Sweet Husband or Baby Snap?

We can actually eat at restaurants again?!

What the frick am I gonna wear?

And then, like strumming the G chord on an old guitar, things fell right back into place.

. . .

Friends.

Ahh.

I’ve had a bunch throughout my 34 years on this planet.

Many stayed only for a time; a few have graciously remained.

And when we’re together I’m reminded of what friendship really means:

Listening.

(I could probably just end the post here. But there are, of course, other things worth noting.)

(clears throat)

Friendship is:

listening; always giving the benefit of the doubt; being honest; being humble; not being afraid to sound stupid; nurturing; the sharing of secrets, recipes, and dreams; being bored together; laughing until one or more bodily functions kicks into gear; putting the other person first.

It’s a safe haven; a philosophical community; a shrug of the shoulders at her shortcomings.

A friend will drink with you; rub sunscreen on your back; drive an extraordinarily long way just to hang.

I am forever grateful to have these special humans in my life.

Looking forward to the next soirée, Dear Ones.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist who lives in her native state of Pennsylvania.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for all kinds of goodies, yo.

Two-Bit Musings.

On Curls & Icy Beverages.

Pedestrian Garden, 2021.
Cape May, NJ.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

Wuddup, Dear Reader?

Greetings to you and yours, after my small blogging break.

I’m currently lounging (?) in the driver’s seat of my car. Baby Snap is snoozing in the back, so I pulled into one of a trillion strip malls on The Main Line. Starbucks in hand. AC blasting. I even scored a free Large Iced Caramel Macchiato, after a Medium was presented to me at the drive-through window. Grande, Tall. . . Whatevs.

Anyway! On to other business, yo.

SnapDragon’s List of Other Business, Yo.

1. I’m on countdown. I found out a few weeks ago that the contract for my employment is not being renewed. My last day is in mid-August. Oh well. I am grateful for what the job offered and the role it played in my life. But I’m ready for the next phase: Full-Time Homemaker. Artist. Writer. Online Entrepreneur. . . ? The SnapDragon Shoppe will be a thing. Stay tuned, my friends.

2. Sing out loud; sing out strong. My sister-in-law turned me on to A Musical Celebration, the 25th Anniversary Sesame Street video. And it’s friggin’ awesome. Instant smiles. Heart-warming nostalgia. Why do I feel like The Muppets make everything better?

3. One page at a time. With each passing day, I realize how much time every little thing takes. I mean, to really do something, and do it well. Showering; scrubbing dishes; writing an email; reading an article. And as I watch our son take confident-yet bow-legged-steps across the concrete, I remind myself that it’s impossible to get it all done. Focus on now. What I do accomplish, I want to be done right.

. . .

So as I sit here for another twenty minutes or so, sipping sugary coffee and waiting for my curls to fully dry, I smile.

The sun is out.

This moment is still.

And a bird soars past my window.

I’m alive.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who never says no to a coffee.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for insights, musings, and other two-bit opinions.

Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Just Go.

. . .

A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

. . .

Little Old Me telling Little Old You to see the world.

Coffee at Picasso National Museum, 2018.
Paris.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

I experienced my first airplane ride at the age of 24.

There’s no extraordinary reason for the delay, really. I grew up in a working-class household, and it was simply more economical to drive a family of five to the Jersey shore each summer. And I loved it. Still do, in fact. Wildwood and Cape May will always have a tender, salt-water-taffy-scented place deep in my heart.

So once I was out of college, working full-time as a teacher and for the first time in my life had a little bit of money, I accompanied my boyfriend (who is now The Sweet Husband) to visit his family in beautiful Colorado.

It changed me.

In the almost seven years since that first mile-high adventure, I’ve visited 12 European countries and 14 additional US states.

I’m extremely lucky.

The Husband loves to travel, more than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s also handy that he loves to plan all of the logistics and is a bonafide carrier-pigeon with his keen sense of direction.

I love it. And I love him for so many reasons. One of the most valuable things he has taught me is that there’s an enormous world out there, waiting to be seen.

You just gotta go.

And aside from my time teaching, traveling abroad has been the most influential experience of my life.

Arriving in Helsinki, feeling so very far from home, felt like a bucket of cold water to the face. You are here. This is not just a place on the map. These people are living their lives.

On Isle St. Louis, we awoke to the aroma of freshly-baked croissants. I walked next door and in pathetic, broken French ordered four. Sitting in our tiny Airbnb kitchen, we spread buttery-soft cheese on those pastries and savored every. goddamn. bite.

We sailed across The Baltic Sea, gazing out at the expansive array of blue.

We hopped on train after train. The Netherlands. Switzerland. Italy.

Together, 2019.
Paris.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X’s Sweet Friend.
All rights reserved.

Each and every place I’ve been tells a story. There’s an ethereal feeling, like I’m in a dream or watching myself live my own life.

And when I come home, it feels different somehow. I’m different.

Traveling reminds me, in a comforting way, that our time on this planet is so very brief.

So how will I spend it?

I could stress about the cost of it all. I could park myself on the couch and worry about everything that could go wrong. I could vow to go “when the time is right” and 40 years from now wonder what might have been.

Or I could just go.

Because life is for the living, Dear Reader.

So go take a bite. Take a sip. Because it could all be over in an instant.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and die-hard Paul McCartney fan.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for all kinds of fun.

Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Alter Ego, Yo.

. . .

A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

. . .

Meet the three personalities of SnapDragon X.

Beauty in Threes, 2017.
Original Painting by SnapDragon X.
Acrylic on Canvas.
All rights reserved.

Hi!

Whether you’re new to Snippets of SnapDragon, or one of my faithful readers (I think I’m up to 8?) welcome back to another day in the Blogosphere.

Several years ago I wrote a piece about the many facets of my personality, or the handful of alter egos that make me me. I actually shared it with my high school students as a beginning-of-the-school-year exercise. I thought about digging it out of my files and uploading it today, but then thought, Nope. It’s always better to start fresh.

So here we are.

The painting you see above is the first “real” piece in my artistic catalog (as an adult, that is). It’s hung on our dining room wall, perfectly placed so that when I am curled up on the love seat in the adjacent living room, I can see it clearly.

At first I didn’t know what to think of it. Is it finished? Is it too cartoony? Too colorful? Too bizarre?

It doesn’t matter. Because it’s me.

All three pieces.

So travel with me as I define each woman you see. Consider it the unholy trinity of SnapDragon X.

Girl One:

Call me Charlotte. I’m the library-loving soul who wears colorful high-top sneakers and gets excited about fruit-flavored lipgloss. I decorate the walls with an array of magazine clippings, ranging from photographs of potted plants to headshots of famous people I do not know. I’m a teacher. I love routine. My classroom chalkboards are pristine and filled with color-coded journal prompts. My eyes are missing because I only come to life by interacting with others.

Girl Two:

Call me Rita. I’m the whisky-drinking, foul-mouthed redhead who wants to keep the party pumping. I sing, I dance. I take a chance by telling the truth and encourage everyone present to do the same. We’re on the same side. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I tell myself that I’m allowed to be me, and people can take it or fucking leave it. Then when I’m alone I spiral into an abyss of self-doubt and delusion.

Girl Three:

Call me Heather. I’m the empath of the group. No matter your story, I feel a connection to you because we are both human. I rejoice in your success. I cry for the loss of your father, though we never met. There is a cavern of emotion inside me, one that drains me and makes me want to hide in the bathtub for hours on end. I love me, I love you. I want us to forgive.

I am SnapDragon.

It’s a pleasure to meet you.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and frequent-quoter of Seinfeld.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for whimsical nonsense and more.

Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Little Perk-Me-Ups.

. . .


A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

. . .

Feeling those Blues?

Helsinki Flowers, 2018. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Here’s five of my favorite things that almost always make me feel better:

5. Watch Food Network.

While Chopped would not be my first choice of shows when I’m feeling anxious, there are plenty of selections on Food Network to lift my spirits. There’s something about seeing a bright, clean kitchen being utilized by a professional chef that quells my anxiety. Following along with the process (even from the comfort of my couch) I feel happy when I watch these G-rated culinary adventures. Barefoot Contessa will always be my favorite. Ina Garten invites us into her gorgeous home (and herb garden!) while making something scrumptious, usually for her husband Jeffrey. It’s too cute.

4. Pick a Task, Any Task.

I do not like to feel lazy, especially on Sundays. But I’d be straight-up lying if I told you I clean the house from roof to basement every seven days. My chores are typically piecemealed throughout the week. But on Sundays, when I’m prone to overanalyzing everything in life, accomplishing a task can work wonders. A load of laundry, grocery shopping, or even getting rid of the clutter on the kitchen counter makes me feel like I’ve opened a window to let the sunshine in.

3. Get Out, Yo.

When I’m in a funk, sitting around only exacerbates my foul mood. Getting out can certainly be paired with the Pick-a-Task Strategy, but even if I drive to the local Dunkin’ Donuts for an afternoon coffee, the fresh air revives my soul. I try to remind myself that walking around the neighborhood is absolutely free and is available at any time. Mother Nature has a way of making things better.

2. Dive into StoryTime.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a novel, a sitcom, or blockbuster hit, the world of fiction is a vast and magical one. If I’m feeling like life’s biggest turd, it helps to watch or read about someone else’s fucked-up life. (I advocate for purely fictional characters; The Real Housewives and the like stress me out. But you do you.)

1. Remember that Tomorrow is Another Day.

Easier said than done, I know. Sometimes I feel like my anxiety or depression will never go away. But it always does. It always passes. I’m really, really trying to take my own advice here. Just like a buzz, moods wear off. I like to take a shower, nap, and pour myself a mug of tea (preferably one of the herbal varieties, like Relaxed Mind or Stress Relief. Sure, it could be placebo. But if you feel better, who cares?)

And so, those are just a few little perk-me-ups that I keep in my moody blues first-aid kit.

I truly hope this day finds you well, Dear Reader.

You are strong.

You are beautiful.

You are human.

. . .

SnapDragon is a weirdo artist who currently craves a sandwich.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for a little of this and that.

Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Sing Out.

. . .

A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

. . .

I love to sing.

So, so much.

Yet I was extremely bashful about doing so for the first–oh–seventeen years of my life or so.

I still get self-conscious if I know people are listening; if I’m put on the spot I usually clam up and my voice sounds smaller somehow, slightly pinched. I sound my very best when I’m alone, singing the harmony on the top of my lungs, letting the notes ring out like bells.

I think I sound good.

Moment of Bliss, 2017. Hudson Valley Brewing, NY.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X’s Sweet Husband. All rights reserved.

I suppose I can say the same for my writing; it’s in me, dying to get out.

Stephen King says that writing is a form of telepathy, with its ability to transport thoughts, images, and ideas to another person without so much as moving our lips.

It’s a kind of magic, really.

I have always tried to pay attention to detail in my work. Even if it’s only on this blog, which may go unnoticed and unread, to be buried in the depths of the interwebs, I want it to be right.

So I read it.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Is this what I mean to say? Is it completely whole? On-point? Worthy of being read?

Just as I sing out–sometimes sounding shaky and small–once it’s out of me, it’s out of my control.

And this scares the shit out of me.

Because as I’ve told you before, I am terrified of being misunderstood.

But I also recognize a writer’s responsibility: to think, draft, reflect, and experiment until the message is ready.

Leave it in the oven, then let it cool, but go ahead and give it a slice and serve.

Because no one hears the songs that remain in your head.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and drinker of cold beverages.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for fun beyond your wildest dreams, yo.